Development through panchayati raj institutions, or rural councils, could be an antidote to the Maoist insurgency, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday.
Singh’s message underscores the government’s strategy of rapid development, alongside paramilitary operations, in dealing with the red rebels.
“We should pay special attention to ensure that PRIs (panchayati raj institutions) function effectively in remote and backward areas, which include tribal areas. This will help us in tackling challenges such as the Maoist menace,” he said at an event to mark the National Panchayati Raj Day.
Policymakers have argued that without development, it would be difficult to crush Maoist insurgency.
Singh said since panchayats “understand local needs”, they could bring curb violence through progress.
“Panchayats not only make direct participation possible for the marginalised section of society in governance, but also play an important role in ensuring transparency and accountability in the functioning of government institutions and officials,” he added.
The rural councils give people a direct role in governance, with over 28 lakh participants in about 600 district panchayats, 6,000 intermediate panchayats and 2.3 lakh village panchayats, Singh said.